Cincinnati backup DB Shawn Williams likely to play bigger role vs. Steelers this time
January 8, 2016 12:00 AM
Bengals DB Shawn Williams is congratulated after intercepting a pass by Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the fourth quarter of a November game at Heinz Field.
By Jim Owczarski / Cincinnati Enquirer
Safety Shawn Williams’ tightrope-walking, diving interception of a Ben Roethlisberger pass along the sideline Nov. 1 at Heinz Field remains one of the plays of the year in the eyes of many in the Cincinnati Bengals locker room, a turnover that eventually led to the winning touchdown against the Steelers.
But Williams hasn’t lived off that play and reluctantly talks about it. For Williams, it’s about what’s next.
“I just feel like the next big play is always the big play of the season,” he said. “What’s in the past is in the past. We’re playing, we’re still here, so I feel like the next big play, the next turnover we get on the team is the next big play of the season.”
But Williams has made plays whenever given the opportunity, which includes four starts due to injuries to George Iloka.
Williams finished the regular season with two interceptions and five passes defensed. He also has recorded 28 tackles and has emerged as a viable starting candidate in 2016 should either Iloka or fellow unrestricted free agent Reggie Nelson depart.
“Shawn’s going to be a great player,” Bengals secondary coach Vance Joseph said. “He’s a good player now, but he’s going to be a great player. He can tackle. He can run and he can catch the football. He can cover.”
Which is why Williams, a third-year player out of Georgia, has earned his way on to the field even when Iloka and Nelson are out there as well.
The Steelers might see more of him Saturday night, especially over tight end Heath Miller or in the slot. Miller caught 20 passes for 171 yards in the two regular-season games against the Bengals.
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